April 6, 2011

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Charles and David Koch’s reach into virtually every aspect of political, economic and physical life on the planet is probably greater than you thought possible.

By Adele M. Stan | AlterNet

You knew they were big. You knew they were evil. From the union-busting actions of their minions in Wisconsin and Ohio to their war on health-care reform, to their assault on the environment and their attacks on the science of climatology, Charles and David Koch have earned their place as the focus of progressives’ scrutiny in the age of the Tea Party — the destructive and regressive movement they bankroll. But a new report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund shows that, as bad as you thought the Kochs were, they’re actually worse. And their reach into virtually every aspect of political, economic and physical life on the planet is probably greater than you thought possible.

In The Koch Brothers: What You Need to Know About the Financiers of the Radical Right, author Tony Carrk, policy director of the CAP Action War Room, lays out a case that is breathtaking in its scope, showing how the Koch brothers are using their billions with the aim of reshaping the global economic system in such a way as to enrich themselves and their heirs at the expense of most other inhabitants of the planet.

While much of the report will have a familiar ring (especially to readers of AlterNet, and CAP Action’s own ThinkProgress), The Koch Brothers also addresses elements of the Koch agenda far beyond the well-trodden turf of Americans for Prosperity’s organizing against health-care reform or the pollution rap against Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held corporation in the United States, which the billionaire brothers command.   [Read more]

March 28, 2011

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By Lee Fang | ThinkProgress

The Weekly Standard’s Matt Continetti, a writer who gained fame defending Sarah Palin from public scrutiny, has a new article blasting critics of Koch Industries and its billionaire owners, David and Charles Koch. Continetti traveled to Koch’s headquarters in Wichita, gained unprecedented access to the brothers, as well as their top executives, and came away with nothing but praise for the company and its peerless role in financing right-wing front groups.

In over 8,000 words of hagiography, Continetti did not find space to disclose that his fellow opinion editor at the Weekly Standard, Michael Goldfarb, is currently employed by Koch Industries to help improve the company’s political image. Or that the Weekly Standard’s reporters routinely attend Koch’s secret political strategy and fundraising meetings. Or that Continetti had received a fellowship funded by the Phillips Foundation, a nonprofit heavily reliant on Koch funds. Or that the Weekly Standard is owned by billionaire Phil Anschutz, a friend of the Koch brothers and an attendee of Koch donor events.

The article includes a deceptive claim that the Koch brothers do not lobby or fund groups to financially benefit Koch Industries. The evidence would suggest otherwise:   [Read more]

February 22, 2011

by Lee Fang  |  ThinkProgress

As ThinkProgress has reported, the global conglomerate Koch Industries not only helped elect Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), but is the leading force orchestrating his union-busting campaign. Koch gave Walker over $43,000 in direct donations and its allies aired millions of dollars worth of attack ads against his Democratic opponent. Then, Koch political operatives pressured Walker to crush labor unions as one of his first priorities. Tim Phillips, a former lobbying partner to Jack Abramoff and current president of Americans for Prosperity, a front financed by David Koch, told the New York Times that Koch operatives “had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown.” A Koch-financed front group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, has prepped Wisconsin GOP lawmakers with anti-labor legislative ideas.

Today, the Koch group Americans for Prosperity announced that it will air an ad smearing the protesters in Madison and calling on the state to support Walker’s power grab. As we noted on Friday, Koch has demanded that collective bargaining rights be curtailed for both private and public sector unions, a step beyond Walker’s already extreme move. The ad disparages the pro-labor protesters for allegedly bringing in “out of state political protesters.” In fact, the small pro-Walker demonstration orchestrated by Koch operatives last Saturday included a number of out of state conservative activists, including Herman Cain (from Georgia), Jim Hoft (from Missouri), and Phillips (from Virginia).  [Read more]

February 15, 2011

By Dan Eggen | Washington Post

A feud between a security contracting firm and a group of guerrilla computer hackers has spilled over onto K Street, as stolen e-mails reveal plans for a dirty-tricks-style campaign against critics of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The tale began this month when a global hackers collective known as Anonymous broke into the computers of HBGary Federal, a California security firm, and dumped tens of thousands of internal company e-mails onto the Internet.

The move was in retaliation for assertions by HBGary Federal chief executive Aaron Barr that he had identified leaders of the hackers’ group, which has actively supported the efforts of anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks to obtain and disclose classified documents.

The e-mails revealed, among other things, a series of often-dubious counterintelligence proposals aimed at enemies of Bank of America and the chamber. The proposals included distributing fake documents and launching cyber-attacks.   [Read more]

February 14, 2011

By Brad Friedman | BradBlog

“[W]ho better to develop a corporate information reconnaissance capability than companies that have been market leaders within the DoD and Intelligence Community.”
- ‘Team Themis’, from their 11/3/10 “Corporate Information Reconnaissance Cell” proposal delivered to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s law firm Hunton & Williams.


As I learned late last Thursday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the most powerful Rightwing lobbying group in the country, was revealed to have been working with their law firm and a number of private cyber security and intelligence firms to target progressive organizations, journalists and citizens who they felt were in opposition to their political activism, tactics and points of view.

As I went on the air Thursday night — my fifth in a six-day guest hosting stint on the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show — revelations about the planned multi-million dollar political hit job by the security/intelligence firms working to develop a scheme for the U.S. Chamber (and another one, almost identical to it, on behalf of Bank of America) were just beginning to come to light. Both plots were being developed by the Chamber and BofA by the very same law firm, Hunton & Williams and with the cyber intelligence firms HBGary Federal, Berico Technologies & Palantir Technologies.

As the show began, I was able to report the news, based on an exclusive report from Lee Fang at ThinkProgress, that internal emails from one of the firms, confirmed that VelvetRevolution.us (VR), a progressive non-partisan, non-profit organization co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, and its StopTheChamber.com campaign were specifically highlighted as targets of the Chamber’s plot which was proposed to include the planting of a “false document”, in hopes they’d be publicly released by VR or other progressive groups, so the U.S. Chamber could then claim the groups involved had created a forgery.

The plan also involved creating “two fake insider personas”, one at VR and another at the unrelated Change To Win organization, which had employed a coalition of union groups to create a non-profit campaign, some months after VR’s, called U.S. Chamber Watch. The plan presented by Team Themis, as the three security firms called themselves, would then use one of the “fake personas” as “leverage to discredit the other while confirming the legitimacy of the second” in hopes of publicizing the fraudulent appearance of some sort of “conspiracy” between the various progressive organizations in order to somehow discredit them.

As Thursday’s show continued, I received confirmation that I, personally, along with members of my family, had been highlighted in Themis’ proposed hit job, as ThinkProgress followed up with a second story, based on several other emails from HBGary’s CEO Aaron Barr. The email focused on me included names, personal information, home addresses, etc. of myself, family members and a number of other members of VR. Naturally, I reported on the then-confirmed news in the second hour of that night’s Malloy Show.   [Read more]

October 20, 2010

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By Lee Fang | Think Progress

Among the many lies told by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently, chief Chamber lobbyist Bruce Josten said that his organization’s foreign affiliates, called AmChams, are only “comprised of American companies doing business abroad in those countries.” In fact, the Chinese AmCham is comprised of Chinese firms like Northern Light Venture Capital; the AmCham in Russia is comprised of Russian state-run companies like VTB Bank; and, the AmCham of Abu Dhabi is comprised of UAE state-run oil companies.

The ties between the AmChams and the U.S. Chamber are deep. In addition to sharing staff members, the Chinese AmCham has worked closely with the U.S. Chamber and the Chinese government to sponsor a series of seminars in America to teach American businesses how to outsource jobs to China (called the China Grassroots Program). Below is an invite to an event sponsored by the right-wing billionaire Sheldon Adelson, inviting local businesses in Florida to come to Jacksonville and learn about outsourcing from Chinese government officials like Li Haiyan, the Counselor for Economic Affairs for the People’s Republic of China, U.S. Chamber lobbyist Joseph Fawkner, and BChinaB, a firm that specializes in helping American firms outsource their manufacturing jobs to China. Click the screenshot below for the invitation:

Similar events like the one above continued into 2009 and beyond.   [Read more]